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The Book of Calvin
A Collection of Humorous Essays
Copyright 2002 by Bobby Matherne
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A Better Light of Day
It was that kind of day for Calvin. When he walked into the office his first words to Rusty were, “I have a headache in my throat. I think I'll pass on the Barbarian Cream King Cake. By the way, Rusty, have you seen my sashay case? I've got an important meeting this morning.”
“It's over by your desk, Mr. Preston,” Rusty said between bites on a frosted mini-wheat she was eating from a box of cereal.
“What's that you're eating? I thought you were on a diet?”
“It is diet food. It says zero grams of fat on the cereal box.”
“You believe a cardboard box?” Calvin shot back. He popped into his office, retrieved his attache' case, and was halfway out the door when Rusty called out to him, “Mr. Preston, you forgot to shave.”
“Can't shave, Rusty, I threw away my electric razor; it stopped working.”
“But it probably only needed new batteries.”
“It didn't have batteries, Rusty, it was a cordless,” Calvin said as he closed the door. Calvin could be forgiven if he was distracted this morning - he was meeting his friends inside the East Jefferson Planning Building about tree preservation along Veterans Boulevard.
When he arrived he saw his old school buddy Danny outside the meeting room.
“Hi, fellow East Jeff-Sermonian,” Calvin called out.
“Ready to save some trees, Cal?”
“Save a tree, kill a forest, Big Boy.”
“Seriously, Calvin, we've got a big job ahead of us, transplanting those trees in the median.”
“I know, I know,” Calvin said, “we gotta do the whole 9 yards, all 10 feet of it. What worries me is, when you transplant a tree it goes into droop depression.”
“Whatever,” Danny said, knowing better than to ask Calvin for an explanation of anything he says, “but we're going to have to be running up and down Veterans to get all these trees planted in one day.”
“Yeah, we'll have to be like Mercury with wings on our toes.”
Moments later Calvin passed a little gas and Danny backed away, saying, “Calvin! You did that?”
“Yep, I just refurbitated.”
“Must be due to that all-you-can-eat Chinese dinner you had last night, huh, Cal?”
“Let me tell you something, Dan,” Calvin said, pointing his index finger directly at his own face. Suddenly he stopped in mid sentence, reached up with his other hand and grabbing his finger, turned it around so that it pointed to Danny, and with a look of accomplishment, continued, “I have the question to your answer: when the stomach calls, I have provided. Actually it was probably all that tye-acky sauce I put in the Wong-Tongue soup.”
“Well, was the food good?”
“Boy, the food was so good, it'd make your tongue get hard and your dick reach up and slap your brains out.”
“Look, Calvin, it's time for us to start planting. Do you know what these people look like?”
“That's easy. They look like humans.”
“Oh? I guess you're gonna tell me what species that is, too?”
“Sure, that's homo sexuals, betcha you wish you had that dumb knowledge. I learned that from that T&M movie, 'Humanoids of the Deep' or maybe it was from Felix Under of the 'Odd Couple,' I don't remember which.”
“Okay,” Danny said, “but what's T&M? Never heard of that.”
“Tits and Monsters, my favorite type movies.”
“Okay. But those plant guys, I hope they get here soon, we're gonna need some professionals for this job.”
“Don't worry, Big Boy. I'll be the professional here today,” said Calvin.
“Okay, Cal, in that case how deep do we dig the holes for the trees?” Danny asked.
“I don't know,” Calvin answered, “but I do know you get a bad seed in every group. Oh, look, there's one of the committee members now.”
“Uh, yeah, I've met him,” Danny said, “I like him. He's like a fresh of breath air.”
“Yeah, he's one of them young whippersnippers,” Calvin said.
“Hey, there's Charlie over by the coffee pot, Calvin. Let's go get some coffee.” They joined Charlie and their other friend Wag came up a short time later. They talked animatedly about the upcoming ball game for several minutes.
Calvin turned to Wag, “Wag, you're being kinda quiet today.”
Wag shrugged his shoulders and said, “I just don't have anything to add to the conversation.”
“Who does?” said Calvin, and, as he turned, he bumped his elbow and spilled coffee on his pants.
“Calvin, you're an idiot,” Charlie said.
“I know, but this crew only needs one idiot. I guess I set the president.”
“Those pants are too short, Calvin, where did you get them anyway?” Charlie asked.
“I shop at the Black, White, and Red and also go to Dillie's at Lakeside,” Calvin replied.
Calvin jumped. He had just got hit on the ear by a rubber band that Tim had let fly from across the hall.
“Oh, it's you, Mr. Expertise-Rubberbandio!”
“Yeah, Calvin. Say, how did you do on that crane machine at the restaurant last night, Cal?” Tim asked, “did you grab one of those watches?”
“No, you cosmo-reatard, I couldn't get my gaffling hooks to pick up anything. They kept sliding off. I felt the pain of victory and the agony of defeat.”
“Yeah, it had those gaffles on the end.”
“Calvin,” Tim said, “tell me again what cosmo-reatard means.”
“Cosmo-reatard is short for asshole, Big Boy.”
“How come you're limping, Cal? Wag asked.
“You remember that blister I had under my foot? Well it healed up sore,” Calvin said.
Charlie had gone over to pull a sheet of instructions off the fax machine and came back frowning, “This copy came out so bad, it's ineligible.”
“Is that the planting instructions, Charlie?” Wag asked.
“Yep, we're ready to start the planting.”
“Can we be flexible in where we plant the trees?” Wag asked.
“No,” Tim replied firmly, “I think the planting pattern is stoned in granite.”
“Well, guys,” Calvin said, “let's go outside now. I'm getting class-a-phobia from being inside.”
On the way outside Tim asked Calvin, “How you getting along with your wife?”
“Not too well, we just got divorced.”
“We were repelling each other. I was the south and she was the South Pole.”
“Well, are you dating someone else yet?”
“Hey, I just got divorced. Whattaya think I am, a fast go-getter?”
The four friends continued chatting as they walked out to the median where they met the horticulturists who had already started digging the holes for the trees. Charlie and Calvin placed a tree in one hole and filled it in while Tim and Wag worked on the next one. Charlie looked up and saw a shiny green Chevrolet drive by with antique plates on it.
“Hey look at that, Cal, a 1953 Chevy,” Charlie said.
“1953, huh! In 1953 I wasn't even a wet spot in my Daddy's pants yet,” Calvin said. It was getting warm in the sun so Charlie suggested getting some soft drinks.
“I'll get them, Chuck,” Calvin said, “I'll just take a gander walk over to the Timesaver.”
“Okay. Get me an orange soda.” A few minutes later Calvin returned with two rootbeers..
“Hey, Cal,” Charlie said, “I asked for an orange drink, not a root beer. Didn't you hear me?”
“No, I didn't, Chuck,” Calvin said in apology, “but I'm getting my ears cleaned out this afternoon, so I'll hear the better light of day tomorrow.”
“Look, Cal, it's Friday,” Charlie said, “want to go to dinner with us to that catfish place for some fish?”
“Sure. Last time I went there, I had a fish that would knock your eyes out. All this talks of food is making me hungry. Let's go to Sal's for lunch so I can get me a big veal cutlass.”
“Calvin, you have a unique mind,” Charlie said.
“Chuck, my mind is so unique, Monique wishes she had one,” Calvin replied. At lunch the four friends were enjoying their veal cutlets at Sal's when the question of Calvin's house came up.
“Did you ever get your lot leveled around your new house?” Tim asked Calvin. “No, I didn't. I was gonna build a bulkhead and fill my yard with erosion, but the house is hers now so I don't care.”
“That's a bad break, Calvin,” Wag said, “you've just finished building that house.”
“Well, my life has always been a flip of the coin,” Calvin said. “No use worrying over it now, it's a done-did.”
“Are you going to sign up for the new paving sayroll plan at work, Cal?” Charlie asked. Calvin understood immediately that Charlie was referring to the payroll savings plan. It came natural to him to understand what other people meant when they made mistakes in language and he didn't seem to see anything unusual when it happened.
“No, Chuck, I'm gonna reframe myself from it.”
Tim turned his head to the front window to check out the blonde who was walking past Sal's restaurant, “Wow, Calvin, take a look at her.” Calvin squinted in the direction Tim was pointing. “Can't you see her, Calvin?”
“Not too well, I can see as long as there's no light,” Calvin replied. Looking back at his plate Calvin said, “Boy, this meat was so hard to cut.”
Charlie looked over at Calvin's plate and noticed something that had escaped all of them, including Calvin, “Calvin, you're holding your knife upside down and cutting with the dull side of the blade.”
“Oh, no wonder, it was tender after I ate it.”
“Didn't you know you were using the wrong edge of the knife?” Charlie asked incredulously.
Calvin pushed his left hand, palm forward, in the air across the table toward Charlie and said, “Chuck, by the right hand of God, I didn't.”
Calvin's friend Mikey joined them at the table and ordered himself two large hamburgers. When the burger came Calvin said, “Boy, I sure don't like them Sesame Street Balls on my hamburger buns.”
Mikey looked over at Calvin and saw some nicks on his face, “Hey, Calvin, you cut yourself or something?”
“Yeah, Mike I cut myself and had to stop shaving,” Calvin said, “I used a septic pencil to stop the bleeding.”
Rusty stopped by to join the boys for lunch and after ordering she asked Calvin if he had gone the strip show on Bourbon Street after dinner last night like he had talked about doing.
“Yep, Mikey and I did.”
“Were the girls wearing pastries?” Rusty asked.
“No,” Mikey answered for Calvin, “but they were all hemophiliacs. I know, because I'm looking for me a sex-crazed hemophiliac.”
Charlie walked over behind Calvin's chair and was massaging his shoulders. Calvin began to groan in delight, “Chuck, keep doing that, it feels so good it makes me see blind.”
Wag noticed the television by the bar had on a special about the 500th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America and asked Calvin, “I guess you know what happened in 1492, huh, Calvin?”
“Sure, the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock,” Calvin answered quickly with a certain degree of assurance that made any further questions superfluous.
“What's that insignia on your T-shirt, Calvin?” Tim was curious.
“That's the Transplant Olympics symbol. I've been invited to compete with other transplant patients from all over the country in Los Angeles on Sunday.”
“What events are you going to compete in?” Wag asked.
Before Calvin could answer the waitress brought a slice of blueberry pie that he had ordered for dessert and set it in front of him. “Hmmm, hmmm, blueberry pie!” Calvin said, “I love 'em. I suck 'em right out of the berries!”
“The Olympics, Cal?” Wag repeated his question.
“Oh, yeah,” Calvin continued between bites of pie, “I'm gonna do three events, the anthelon, the 5 meter run, and the ball toss.”
“The ball toss?” Tim asked, “I've never heard of that.”
“I'll show you.” Calvin stood up, wiped the blueberry stains from his mouth, and holding his hands over his balls, he jumped sideways for three or four feet. Everyone applauded and he took a bow. “See. And you thought the unthinkable was untrainable.”
Calvin sat down to eat another piece of blueberry pie he had ordered. His appetite for sweets had become voracious since he had his kidney and pancreas transplants and was no longer diabetic. While he was eating he accidentally flipped the plastic spoon he was using out of his mouth and caught it in midair. “Look, guys,” he said proudly, “Eye-to-eye contact! I'll be another Steven Steelsburg.”
“So you're gonna compete in the Olympics,” said Wag.
“Yeah, Big Boy, I'll take my potluck chance.”
“You in the Olympics,” Tim said, “that's hard to believe.”
“I'm sorry, Tim, but when you're a genius, you have your capabilities.”
“Are you gonna visit your sister Gail while you're in Los Angeles for the Olympics?” Wag asked.
“Yep. I'll get two stones with one bird,” Calvin said. “How did you know about my sister in L. A. anyhow? I can't keep anything sacred from you guys.”
“Look, Buddy,” Charlie piped in, “we know all about you.”
“Don't buddy-buddy me, Buddy Buddy,” Calvin shot back, and with a knifelike cutting move with his right index finger across his throat, continued, “You cut me from the knees, Chuck. Can't you see I'm starving and thirsty for affection? I'm Ethiopianing away. Like Ramsey said in the Ten Commandments, 'So it be said, let it be written.' Die you dog, you fiend of America, you lust of women, I'm gonna beat you with a red-headed child. I'm outa here. I'm getting haywired. I'm heading for the Pacific, the big O. C.”
And so he did, whether or not the big O. C. was ready for him.
~^~^~^~^~^~^~^ Glossary for Book of Calvin Essays ~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^
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